Archeologists Discover 5000-year-Old Recipe for Beer in China

Beer Glass


Researchers from Stanford University claim to have discovered 5000-year-old recipe for beer in China. The researchers now believe this find may be the first indication that beer was an important product in China many years before experts previously thought.

Different studies have revealed that ancient humans were fond of beer. Evidence of 11,000-year-old brewing troughs has been found at Gobekli Tepe in Turkey.

Beer was also very popular in Mesopotamia and Egypt, as per research conducted by Xavier University theologist Michael Homan. Many ancient cultures used beer as medicine and as a cosmetic.

In 2004, archaeologists had discovered two pits at Mijiaya archaeological site in Shaanxi province in northern China. These pits appeared much similar to home-brewing operations and had a variety of beer-making equipment. The find included pottery funnels and pots, which were covered with a residue of barley, tubers, broomcorn millet, and a chewy grain known as Job’s tears. Researchers also found stoves, which they believe, could have been used to heat the fermenting grain mash during beer brewing. The underground spaces discovered were most likely used to keep the brew at cool, consistent fermentation temperature. Researchers from Stanford University examined the residue on the pottery shards to determine the ingredients used by ancient brewers. They found that the pottery contained chemicals, starches, and plant minerals from some specific fermented grains, suggesting that Chinese people probably knew the art of making beer about 5,000 years ago. The study also suggested that Chinese people were probably using barley for booze before using it as food.

“The discovery of barley is a surprise,” lead author Jiajing Wang of Stanford University told the BBC.

“This beer recipe indicates a mix of Chinese and Western traditions – barley from the West; millet, Job’s tears and tubers from China.”

“The shapes and styles of the vessels show stylistic similarities to the brewing equipment in the historical period and modern ethnographic records,” Wang said.

“This beer recipe indicates a mix of Chinese and Western traditions: barley from the West, millet, Job’s tears, tubers from China.”

Some earlier studies have also shown that beer has long been a significant part of Chinese culture. Written record in the late Shang dynasty (circa 1250-1046 B.C.) also mention about use of beer in Chinese culture.

The detailed results of the study have been reported in the journal US Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.